Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


Paternity Puzzle
Young Love Frustrations
Am I a Lesbian?

Paternity Puzzle

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 29 years old and single with two small children. I left their father a year and a half ago after the relatonship had turned increasingly abusive. After I left I didn't want to date seriously, or trust anyone around my kids or in my life.

I ended up seeing a married man on a regular basis. I was lonely but wasn't comfortable sleeping around, and this worked for me because I didn't have to get too emotionally involved. I figured he was going to be a cheater anyway, and I was just taking advantage of it. I was very tempted by him because he was someone I've had strong feelings for for years and I enjoy being intimate with more than I ever have with anyone else. He never led me on or claimed to be leaving his wife, it was just fun for him.

That was okay since that was all I wanted, too. I lost interest in dating other men as I began to feel that no one quite compared with him and it wasn't worth the trouble unless I found someone amazing. I never closed my mind to the possibility that I would find that someone, though, or fooled myself that I could get more out of this relationship.

After a year of seeing him, six months of it monogamously, I was starting to miss the other benefits of a more legitimate relationship. This led to a drunken one night stand with someone I wasn't even attracted to, just to have someone to hold me through the whole night and wake up with. I didn't like the guy, however, and went back to seeing the married guy a couple days later. Even though I was on birth control I ended up pregnant. And of course it happened that week.

I wasn't able to go through with an abortion and am now nearly six months pregnant. I am awaiting the results of a prenatal paternity test I had done with the cooperation of the other guy. The married guy is a wreck, afraid of losing his whole life. I have assured him I will do this on my own and not tell his wife. If this child is his, should I pursue child support at the expense of destroying his life and hurting others? I am a college student and will now have three children to support, so I desperately need the help. We both were wrong in what we did, but I feel more responsible because I was the one who decided not to end the pregnancy when I should have, given the circumstances. Am I right to take this attitude? Should he be spared?

Dear Pregnant,

You owe it to yourself, your other children, and your new baby to get child support. Youíll have enough trouble going to college with three children, one of them an infant. Youíll need the fatherís emotional and financial support.

If your married lover turns out to be the father, "sparing him" is really not an option. Even married men have to be responsible for the children they produce, whether with their wives or with their mistresses. After all, he was sleeping with you for a year. Heíll have to confess to his wife, try to get forgiveness and somehow work things out. If he turns out not to be the father, he might think twice before he endangers his marriage by having another affair.

Sure, you were both wrong, but you were no more wrong than he was. A woman canít be expected to abort her baby to protect her married lover. He took the risk and now heíll have to face the consequences, just as you will.

Having sex without emotional involvement like you and your married lover attempted to do is always dangerous. Sure, you might be able to have a one-night stand without getting sucked into wanting more of a relationship, but sleeping with someone over and over again is bound to make you want more. Just being together and exchanging pleasures and intimacy will arouse loving feelings whether you want them or not.

On the other hand, if your one-night stand turns out to be the father, you'll have a different problem. The one-nighter may be less cooperative about paying child support. However, he too must be responsible, even if it was only once. Children don't care if you had sex a hundred times or one time - they still need to be taken care of.

Next time you want sex with no complications or emotional attachments, think twice. And please consider Ė somewhere between a long-term affair with a married man and a one-night drunken fling, how about a real relationship? Surely you deserve better. Itís time for you to get over your fear of emotional involvement.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Young Love Frustrations

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I normally don't ask for help from people, especially someone I don't know, but this situation has me stumped. I'm only 16, and I recently met a guy (17yrs old) that I really like. He enjoys everything I like, he likes the same music I like (which is a big plus in my eyes), and we have a lot in common. Quite frankly, I like everything about him. I haven't been this happy in a long time. He told me that he liked me and that made me even happier. He said that it was like an "instant attraction".

The problem is, he explained to me yesterday that he didn't want to start a relationship with anyone and he wants to be just friends. He explained to me that he just wasn't ready for a girlfriend. He told me about his last relationship (which was last year) and it ending because he figured out it's not what he wanted and he didn't want to date yet. Well, he really hurt that girl and I'm afraid that he's just scared to hurt me or something. He's also told me that he thinks we wouldn't work, but I keep thinking back when he's said we had an "instant attraction". Shouldn't that mean something? Shouldn't that tell him that maybe he should get the chance to know me more, and give me a chance and see if there IS something there? Isn't love about making risks? Of course there is the chance that it wouldn't work, and that he hurts me, and that he again realizes that it's not what he wants, but I am willing to take the risk because I think we can be very happy together; I think he's worth it all.

If this was any other guy I would try and get over it, but there's something about this one that's making me want to hold on. I know he told me he wasn't ready for a relationship any time soon, I know I agreed to just being friends, and I don't want to force him into anything, but it's hard liking him when I know he doesn't have the same ideas. He still likes me, but things will be different now.

I am trying to decide what to do. My idea is just letting go of the wheel and seeing where it takes me. Having him as a close friend and then if he realizes that he's ready, maybe we will date. But I'm just lost because I don't know what to do. He's everything I want in a guy, and he actually likes me!, but he's not ready to date. What do you think should I do?

Dear "Instant Attraction,"

I usually don't answer questions from someone as young as you are, but this is a good time for you to learn an important lesson about life and dating and men.

Just because you like someone and he likes you, doesn't mean you are meant to be together or that a relationship will work out, now or ever. An "instant attraction" is nice, but only if it lasts, and only if it's mutual. In your case, it's neither. When he said that, he might have been sincere, but he's obviously changed his mind. He's told you he doesn't want a relationship right now. And he just wants to be friends.

When a man tells you he just wants to be friends, that's the kiss of death in a relationship. It's the polite way of saying he's not really attracted to you romantically. It means that he isn't going to give you the love and romance that you're hoping for. All you have now is an awkward friendship and a fantasy of what you think a relationship with him would be like.

So the lesson is, if a man tells you he just wants to be friends, cross him off as a boyfriend candidate immediately. The larger lesson is to listen to what a man says and not just hear what you want to hear. He's telling you that a relationship with you "wouldn't work," and you're ignoring him. You're too busy re-running his "instant attraction" statement in your head.

Find someone who is ready. Timing is everything. If the fruit on the tree isn't ripe, it will be sour. The same goes for a man. If he's not ready, he's no good to date or even fantasize about. You're kidding yourself if you think this is going to be the love of your life just because he likes the same music or -- once -- said that he was attracted to you. He's young and so are you. Don't waste your wonderful young years yearning for a love that's not there.

It's okay to be friends, but don't cling to the idea that the friendship is going to become a romance. It most likely won't and you'll not only be disappointed, but you'll be spending precious time without the romance you want and perhaps ignoring a nice guy who really does want you as more than a friend.

If you really want to be happy, find someone who wants a relationship with you right now, not some day.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

Am I a Lesbian?

Dear Dr. Tracy,

Letís start with my childhood and teenage years. I always was more like a tomboy child, not liking much playing with dolls except with Barbie doll which I was little bit curious about her body and getting her dress and undress. I used to like climbing, fighting with my boy cousin, I was feeling more comfortable as a friends around boys or men than I was feeling around girls or women and still am.

When I reached puberty around 11 or 12 or 13 years old some girl friends used to talk about boys and sex, I remember feeling being very alone, very confused because I didnít feel the same way and because I wasnít interested in all that. Also I remember having a sleepover with my girl friend and we started masturbating and kissing each other which I kind of liked but it kind of tore my friend and me apart.

By the time I reach 15 years old a lot of boys started becoming very interested in me. I felt kind of disgusted about them because they here kind of following me around like a dogs - although some of the girls were crazy about them. When I become 17 years I was still virgin and I was feeling very distressed and felt kind of a freak. I didn't even had my first kiss by a boy, so when I went on holidays with my mother to this Hotel and two brothers, Italian boys, set eyes on me I decided to have my first contact, relationship and summer fling for the first time and get on with it. Lucky for me the Italian boys were fantastic and I end up from what I thought was just going to be becoming a Ďnormalígirl in a summer fling to a fantastic 3 years long, very caring, very romantic long distant relationship, which I ended when started cheating on him when I moved to a different country.

I tried several relationships at once but I went to bed only with one of them, the sex was O.K. but it was more comforting the idea of me feeling like I was normal. I become pregnant by him, moved in with him and later on got married with him. On my wedding day I felt very much cold feet, very scared and if it wasnít for all my friends around me, I think would run out from there I even had a panic attack and started laughing in the middle of the ceremony which some of my friends keep reminding me as the funniest ceremony ever made.

Years of my life pass and the sex was still not bad but I wasnít looking forward it, I preferred it fast and I often donít feel fulfilled.

Now is the dilemma. My husband has started asking me if have feelings for women (Iím not sure why he asked me that) probably because I preferred to dress with trousers, when I walk I have the habit of walking with my hand inside my pockets, I sometime look at the women and discuss with my husband who is better looking, so he keep asking me. But he wasnít the only one giving me hints, asking me, sort of telling me that they were interested in girl to girl thing. A friend of mine and her sister started dancing and rubbing against me, later on asked me if I wanted to stay over, another friend started behaving very strangely towards me when we were watching a lesbian trailer after a movie in the cinema and suddenly stops calling me or talking to me for long periods of time, and more times like that.

I started looking at women more often and started having sexual or romantic fantasies about women to feel aroused before having sex. When I see a real women in bikini or swimming suit, half or completely undressed I find my brain start wandering off and if they look at me back I become shy or nervous about it.

Iím very confused right now about what I am, in what category I stand. Am I a lesbian just finding out, bisexual, curious, what am I? Why are people start asking me, giving me hints or telling me about me being romantically interested in women what do they see that I donít see? There are suddenly more rumours about me inside the family.

Dear Confused,

Many women have early sexual experiences with other women and that doesn't mean they're not normal.

Your confusion is because you want to put a label on yourself. You want to be either a lesbian or a straight woman. The truth is that you may be bi-sexual. You could easily be a woman who enjoys men as friends and lovers and even as a mate, but still finds herself attracted to women.

There are lots of women out there who enjoy men and women. You don't have to either be normal or not normal. Instead stop looking for a label and just be yourself.

Or you could easily be a woman who is bi-curious. Many women are. It's not unusual to be interested in other women's bodies or how they look. It's okay if you are a lesbian too. Give yourself permission to be who you are, or all three - straight, lesbian and bi-sexual. It really doesn't matter what other people think. It's you that has to be happy with yourself.

Don't be upset because you fantasize about making love to a woman. It's one of the most common fantasies women have -- being with another woman in a sexual encounter. Just because you want to doesn't mean you will, but if you do, that's okay too. It sounds to me like you're being too influenced by other people trying to put you in a category. As for your husband, many men have fantasies about seeing two women making love. He could just be feeding his fantasies by asking you about whether you're interested.

Give yourself permission to be with either sex and not have a label. You'll take the pressure off and be able to find who you really are.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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